Thursday, November 27, 2014

Skywatch Friday 83

For the most part, we've had some pretty bleak skies this month. A lot of gray, overcast days, a few days of dense fog, and even some snow. The one sunset I happened to capture was a rare treat.

Snow moving in . . . 

It was an overcast day, but there was a break in the clouds just long enough
to glimpse this sunset through some trees. 

Snow-covered leaves outside my window . . . 

A light dusting of snow in mid-November. All the snow melted
over the weekend, and then we got another 5-plus on Monday.

An early morning fog . . . 

LINKING TO: Skywatch Friday

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thursday Thirteen 360: Wild Turkeys

In honor of Thanksgiving, I give you thirteen turkeys. These were all taken around my neighborhood over the past three months.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Okay, technically I did not see any wild turkeys on this outing. I followed their
tracks up the hill towards the park, but they disappeared into someone's yard
before I reached the summit. I was hoping to photograph them in some snow!

This was actually photographed in a friend's neighborhood, and
while not a wild turkey, I couldn't resist including him. Happy Thanksgiving!

LINKING TO: Thursday Thirteen

Wordless Wednesday 158: The Cardinal

Cardinal, photographed November 12, 2014 — this is why I'd like a new camera. Not because I need one, but for better zoom capability.


Wordless Wednesday

Monday, November 24, 2014

Teaser Tuesday 243: Think Twice

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current book or recent read.
* Share a few "teaser" sentences from somewhere in the book.
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away. You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

This week I am reading a legal thriller by Lisa Scottoline, Think Twice, the eleventh book in her popular "Rosato & Associates" series. I knew my teaser needed to come from chapter two as I was reading it, but choosing which lines to use? Not so easy. So, bear with me on this being more than two.

She felt the lid. Her thoughts raced ahead of her fingers. The top was sealed. There was nothing inside the box. No air, food, water. No hole to breathe through.

(Chapter two)

Genre: Mystery/Legal Thriller
Series: Rosato & Associates #11

Is evil born in us—or is it bred? That is the question at the heart of this penetrating novel from blockbuster New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline

Bennie Rosato looks exactly like her identical twin, Alice Connelly, but the darkness in Alice's soul makes them two very different women. Or at least that's what Bennie believes—until she finds herself buried alive at the hands of her twin.

Meanwhile, Alice takes over Bennie's life, impersonating her at work and even seducing her boyfriend in order to escape the deadly mess she has made of her own life. But Alice underestimates Bennie and the evil she has unleashed in her twin's psyche. Soon Bennie, in her determination to stay alive long enough to exact revenge, must face the twisted truth that she is more like Alice than she could have ever imagined . . . and by the novel's shocking conclusion, Bennie finds herself engaged in a war she cannot win—with herself.

With its blistering speed, vivid characters, and perplexing moral questions, Think Twice is a riveting emotional thriller that will keep readers breathless until the very last page.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thursday Thirteen 359: The Phantom Tollbooth

I have been reading The Phantom Tollbooth this week, an amazing middle grade book that adults will love as much as children. Here are thirteen of my favorite lines or passages from this wonderful book.

1. Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven't the answer to a question you've been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you're alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.

2. The only thing you can do easily is be wrong, and that's hardly worth the effort.

3. You must never feel badly about making mistakes . . . as long as you take the trouble to learn from them. For you often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons than you do by being right for the wrong reasons.

4. Whether or not you find your own way, you're bound to find some way. If you happen to find my way, please return it, as it was lost years ago. I imagine by now it's quite rusty.

5. You can swim all day in the Sea of Knowledge and still come out completely dry.

6. If something is there, you can only see it with your eyes open, but if it isn't there, you can see it just as well with your eyes closed. That's why imaginary things are often easier to see than real ones.

7. Just because you have a choice, it doesn't mean that any of them 'has' to be right.

8. In this box are all the words I know…Most of them you will never need, some you will use constantly, but with them you may ask all the questions which have never been answered and answer all the questions which have never been asked. All the great books of the past and all the ones yet to come are made with these words. With them there is no obstacle you cannot overcome. All you must learn to do is to use them well and in the right places.

9. Since you got here by not thinking, it seems reasonable to expect that, in order to get out, you must start thinking.

10. We never choose which words to use, for as long as they mean what they mean to mean, we don't care if they make sense or nonsense.

11. "I never knew words could be so confusing," Milo said to Tock as he bent down to scratch the dog's ear.
"Only when you use a lot to say a little," answered Tock.
Milo thought this was quite the wisest thing he'd heard all day.

12. You can get in a lot of trouble mixing up words or just not knowing how to spell them. If we ever get out of here, I'm going to make sure to learn all about them.

13. [P]eople use as many words as they can and think themselves very wise for doing so. For always remember that while it is wrong to use too few, it is often far worse to use too many.

LINKING TO: Thursday Thirteen

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wordless Wednesday 157: Sumac

Sumac glows brightly across a weary autumn prairie . . .


Wordless Wednesday

Monday, November 17, 2014

Teaser Tuesday 242: The Phantom Tollbooth

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current book or recent read.
* Share a few "teaser" sentences from somewhere in the book.
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away. You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

This week I am reading the classic children's book, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. Here is the book's intro:

There was once a boy named Milo who didn't know what to do with himself — not just sometimes, but always.

When he was in school he longed to be out, and when he was out he longed to be in. On the way he thought about coming home, and coming home he thought about going. Wherever he was he wished he were somewhere else, and when he got there he wondered why he'd bothered. Nothing really interested him — least of all the things that should have.

"It seems to me that almost everything is a waste of time," he remarked one day as he walked dejectedly home from school. "I can't see the point in learning to solve useless problems, or subtracting turnips from turnips, or knowing where Ethiopia is or how to spell February." And, since no one bothered to explain otherwise, he regarded the process of seeking knowledge as the greatest waste of time of all.

(Chapter 1)

Genre: Children's/young adult fantasy

Read Chapter one here.

Illustrated in black-and-white. Originally published in 1961, this edition includes the 35th anniversary essay by Maurice Sendak.

This ingenious fantasy centers around Milo, a bored ten-year-old who comes home to find a large toy tollbooth sitting in his room. Joining forces with a watchdog named Tock, Milo drives through the tollbooth's gates and begins a memorable journey. He meets such characters as the foolish, yet lovable Humbug, the Mathemagician, and the not-so-wicked "Which," Faintly Macabre, who gives Milo the "impossible" mission of returning two princesses to the Kingdom of Wisdom . . .

Random Photo: Milkweed Seed Pods

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Skywatch Friday 82

There's a star in the sky . . .

LINKING TO: Skywatch Friday

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Thursday Thirteen 358: Literary Quotes

I have a habit of marking passages I like as I read — whether it be something profound, a bit of humerous dialogue, or a description that resonates. Here are thirteen noted in recent reads.

1. There is some music that is so terrible that it consumes all those who approach it.
~Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera

2. Unfortunately for the rest of society, some poor souls outgrew adolescence and went straight into personality disorder.
~ Deborah Webb, Urban Sensation

3. The scene of a crime isn’t merely a place; it's a continuum that extends across both time and space. It springs into existence when the idea is first formed to commit a crime and the scene conceivably has to terminus point.
~ John J. Lamb, The Mournful Teddy

4. (S)sometimes it is easier to fall in love within the safety of a book.
~ Jenn McKinlay, Due or Die

5. Just because you have the paper and do the time does not make you the best leader.
~ Jenn McKinlay, Due or Die

6. You can boast about anything if it's all you have. Maybe the less you have, the more you are required to boast.
~ John Steinbeck, East of Eden

7. Sometimes a man wants to be stupid if it lets him do a thing his cleverness forbids.
~ John Steinbeck, East of Eden

8. No story has power, nor will it last, unless we feel in ourselves that it is true and true of us.
~ John Steinbeck, East of Eden

9. One cannot find peace in work or in pleasure, in the world or in a convent, but only in one's soul.
~W. Somerset Maugham, The Painted Veil

10. I'm not saying that people can't be condescending. I'm just saying they should get to know us first.
~ Hy Conrad, Mr. Monk Gets on Board

11. People say "I don't know what you’re talking about" only when they know damn well what you’re talking about.
~ Hy Conrad, Mr. Monk Gets on Board

12. That was the worst truth of all: alone. The word was a kind of death.
~Anne Perry, No Graves as Yet

13. You can like people and still betray them, if it was for a cause you believed in passionately enough. You have to betray other people rather than betray yourself—if that's what it comes to.
~Anne Perry, No Graves as Yet

LINKING TO: Thursday Thirteen

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Monday, November 10, 2014

Teaser Tuesday 241: Biting the Moon

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current book or recent read.
* Share a few "teaser" sentences from somewhere in the book.
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away. You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

Over the weekend, I finished Biting the Moon by Martha Grimes, the first mystery in her Andi Oliver series. Here's a bit from a scene just past the middle. The action of this scene had my stomach clenching as though I were actually shooting those rapids.

The water squeezed them against flat rocks to their right, and they blasted out of this narrow channel. It was then she heard the roar of water and wondered why they had been such imbeciles as to undertake this trip. There wasn't much time for wondering, though. They surfed to the left, then back to the center. Through curtains of foam, she made out that they were poised almost like the hawk or eagle she had seen on the edge of air and there wasn't time to scream before the raft sailed out and plunged straight down into a V-hole, the water caving in and slamming them around, nearly flipping the raft.

(Chapter 32)

Series: Andi Oliver #1

In a unique departure from her acclaimed Richard Jury novels, bestselling author Martha Grimes presents "a lyrical coming-of-age journey" (Chicago Sun-Times) featuring two characters from her previous novels.

She didn't know who she was—or where she came from. But one morning she awoke in a strange bed-and-breakfast with a message that her "Daddy" would soon return from Santa Fe. Fearing the worst, this nameless young woman disappeared into the wilderness. She christened herself Andi Oliver, from the initials on her backpack, and lived in the mountains—utterly alone. Until she met Mary Dark Hope, a girl who shared her loneliness and confusion. Together, they vowed to track down the one person who held the key to Andi's identity: The stranger who abducted her . . .

Random Photo: Goldenrod in Autumn

Goldenrod, October 2014

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Skywatch Friday 81

The squirrels have been quite industrious of late, building their nests and gathering nuts . . .

LINKING TO: Skywatch Friday

Thursday Thirteen 357: A Book Meme

Borrowed from a recent Sunday Stealing . . .

1. Favorite childhood book?
So many: The Secret Garden; Caddie Woodlawn; Sophie & Gussie; Why Can’t I Fly?; the Trixie Belden series . . .

2. What are you reading right now?
The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham, which is actually quite good.

3. Bad book habit?
Buying more, even though I’ll never get through all those currently residing in Mount TBR.

4. Do you have an e-reader?
Not one of my own, but do have one on loan from a friend (she has four).

5. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
One at a time. On the rare occasion I have more than one going, one is usually a collection of essays or short stories.

6. Least favorite book(s) you read this year (so far)?
Emma by Jane Austen; One Hundred Years if Solitude; The Swiss Family Robinson

7. Favorite book(s) you’ve read this year?
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins; The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux;

8. Can you read on the bus?
Yes, I can read in a moving vehicle and frequently do. It's also one of the reasons I became the navigator in our group, as a few of my friends get motion sick and I don't.

9. What is your policy on book lending?
I rarely lend out books, and only to one or two people I know will take care of the book and return it in the same condition as when they borrowed it.

10. Do you ever dog-ear books?
NO. That would be a sacrilege! I always use a bookmark.

11. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
Occasionally I will make a mark by a word I want to look up, or quote I want to copy, but only in pencil. When I was in college, I would also sometimes make notes in the margins (again, in pencil), particularly if it was for the one class where we were allowed either our notes or the book, not both.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
By comfort zone, I assume the questioner means which genres do you normally read. Which would be romance, mystery, YA, and the classics -- with or without paranormal elements.

13. How often do you read outside of your comfort zone?
Not very often. I am not fond of horror, science fiction or memory/biography, so when I read something in one of these genres it's usually for a group read.

LINKING TO: Thursday Thirteen

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Random Photo: Fall Back

Don't forget to "Fall Back" tonight!